M. Clara, N. Kreuzinger, B. Strenn, O. Gans, H. Kroiss:
"The solids retention time-a suitable design parameter to evaluate the capacity of wastewater treatment plants to remove micropollutants";
Micropollutants as endocrine disrupting compounds (EDC) or pharmaceuticals are of increased interest in water pollution control. Wastewater treatment plant (WWTP) effluents are relevant point sources for residues of these compounds in the aquatic environment. The solids retention time (SRT) is one important parameter for the design of WWTPs, relating to growth rate of microorganisms and to effluent concentrations. If a specific substance is degraded in dependency on the SRT, a critical value for the sludge age can be determined. In WWTPs operating SRTs below this critical value, effluent concentrations in the range of influent concentrations or a distribution according to the adsorption equilibrium have to be expected, whereas in WWTPs operating at SRTs higher than the critical value degradation will occur. Critical SRTs were determined for different micropollutants, indicating that the design criteria based on the sludge age allows an estimation of emissions. Different treatment technologies as conventional activated sludge systems and a membrane bioreactor were considered and no significant differences in the treatment efficiency were detected when operated at comparable SRT. The results of the investigations lead to the conclusion that low effluent concentrations can be achieved in WWTPs operating SRTs higher than 10 days (referred to a temperature of 10 °C). This corresponds to the requirements for WWTPs situated in sensitive areas according to the urban wastewater directive of the European Community (91/271/EEC) in moderate climatic zones.
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